To Learn

Erudition is a lofty goal to which some have aspired.
They’ve dedicated lifetimes to excel within their field.
But shocking now to realize that the highest reach acquired
Might not meet the mark now that the secret’s been revealed.

First, one must be guarded, from ignorance, not just be smart.
Knowledge must be extended to embrace all entities:
Phenomena, the soul, the intellect, even the heart.
To know is to comprehend the meaning of all reality.

The title, erudite, entails a certain generosity;
That knowledge be set free through universal education.
Not be watered down, but without pomposity,
Shared at the grass roots, a worldwide conversation.

From a non-elitist platform the information flows,
Nurturing the talents of the coming generation,
Giving them the courage to question and to grow.
Thus the erudite has passed the first examination.

The second one concerns the defense of religion,
Endorsed as the pillar by which society is sustained,
Intellectually promoted as the cure for all division.
Its high standards publicized and fearlessly maintained.

The next requirement is to judiciously oppose
The passions that could lead the learned to extremes.
Here on solid middle ground emotions are controlled,
Judgments are impartial and moderation is esteemed.

Before this title is earned, there is one last stipulation:
With genuine self-effacement, kneel down to take the vow of
Subservience to His law and fear of castigation.
Thus the crown of erudition will fit nicely on the brow.

Most of us will not attain this elevated station,
Yet there is an eminence that can be won more easily.
We won’t need to make it a life-time occupation.
At any age we can be wise, attain this quality.

First, we must fear Him, His justice and decree.
Reverence is the essence of all insight, all perception.
It’s the source of every virtue, the fount of goodly deeds.
It leads the hosts of justice to do battle with deception.

Then what’s required is control of stubborn drive.
He Himself holds fast to patient resignation.
His will is never imposed. He allows us to decide.
Wisdom dominates an egocentric inclination.

After that our duty is to take counsel in all affairs.
It’s the lamp of guidance that removes hesitation,
Bestows understanding, makes us more aware.
Certitude replaces all remaining speculation.

If wisdom is our aim another effort must be made.
It has to do with how we speak, the usage of our words.
One could be like springtime, another like a plague.
For hearts to bloom and flourish depends on what is heard.

The wise one uses words to nurture understanding,
To edify the tender hearts, encourage them to grow,
To lead them to their destiny, but never by commanding;
A gentle wind, not a tempest gale to overthrow.

The wise one also knows that what’s essential is moderation,
Together with refinement, produced by purity of heart,
That everything one knows does not require explanation.
Capacity and occasion must be considered from the start.

Combining these we might achieve the laurels we desire.
Not like those which Abu’l-Fadl or Socrates have earned.
Yet, all endeavor should lead to lasting good and we should try
To climb up on their shoulders, and never cease to learn.